Israel proposes 40-day truce to realize release of hostages, report says

Reuters news agency has reported that Israel aims to secure the release of civilian hostages in exchange for a 40-day truce. Hamas is reportedly considering the deal carefully and is yet to respond.

Reuters on Friday quoted a Palestinian official close to the negotiations as saying that during the first phase of the truce, fighting would cease while Hamas freed remaining civilians. The news agency said further phases would see the handover of Israeli soldiers and bodies of dead hostages.

Reuters also reported that there is speculation that Hamas would demand guarantees that fighting would not resume after the release of hostages.

A major US newspaper reported that the negotiations are still in the phase of discussing the minimum framework.

A senior Hamas member on Thursday told Qatar-based news outlet Al Jazeera that the group was studying the truce offer.

Israeli forces are continuing intense attacks on Gaza. More than 27,000 people were killed as of Thursday.

Israeli defense minister Yoav Gallant said on Thursday that the Israeli forces' operation in the Khan Younis area of southern Gaza is almost complete. He added that the military will step up its offensive in the southern city of Rafah.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, says more than 1 million refugees have fled to the Rafah area following Israel's attacks.